Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Week 3: Temple!

Hey!

I hope you all are doing well (: Things here are going great!

Today was especially fun because we were able to go to the Mexico City temple grounds. The temple is still closed for renovations, but there is a really nice visitors center and distribution center there that we were able to visit! The visitors center is so beautiful. People say that it is second only to temple square. It was a very spiritual experience!

the temple isn't open right now, but we do get to come back and work the open house! I am so excited. We made friends with a couple of the visitors center hermanas, and I cant wait to see them in a couple of months!

We also bought some cute authentic mexican shirts from a little store by the temple! I´ll have to send some pictures of us wearing them soon!

I really can't express how much love I have for my district and how grateful I am for them. These people are all amazing. And all the girls in our district love to sing! In the MTC no music is allowed, so we have all started to sing a lot. We love to do three part harmonies of hymns. Hermana Jones and Hermana Garner are really talented with sight reading and picking up harmonies so they sing the harmonies and Hermana Critchon and I sing the melody. It is so fun! I love singing because music has a way of piercing the heart and helping people to feel the spirit. We are actually considering singing for a devotional... 

I think I told you about my teacher, Hermano Perez, last week? I probably already raved about him, but he has really helped me to progress as a missionary so much! Well, this week we realized that he actually lives in our mission!! I'm not sure how we didn't realize it until just a few days ago! I told him that if I ever serve in his ward he has to be the member in one of my lessons! 

The language is coming!! It really is exciting because I can see that I am getting better. We taught 2 lessons yesterday with basically nothing written down, just a few notes of points we wanted to hit. And we were able to do it! The gift of tongues is real. My spanish is infinitely better while teaching lessons than at any other time. One thing I want to get better at is teaching with the spirit. I can be somewhat of an academic and I want to try to explain everything and just say what I want to say that I forget to let the spirit guide the lesson. It's definitely a gift that you have to pray for.

Actually, something that really struck me this week is that we really need to pray and be seeking spiritual gifts. Sacrament meeting this week was all about faith, hope and charity, and people kept saying that we need to be pleading with Heavenly Father asking Him for these gifts. I hadn't ever really thought of it that way, so that was a really cool insight for me. 

I still haven't had to give a sacrament talk. I think I described how they select speakers already, but basically everyone prepares a talk and then they announce who is speaking right before you go up to give a talk. I thought for sure I would be speaking this week since I had yet to give a talk, but I wasn't called on! It seriously feels like the reaping. But at this point I'm a lot more comfortable with my Spanish (talks are all in spanish except for whatever member of the branch presidency is speaking) so I'm hoping that I do have the opportunity to try and give a talk. 

I've been pretty lucky because I haven't gotten sick at all while being here. Pretty much all of the Americans have been sick. It's a bummer. But I've been okay... knock on wood...

It pours here almost every evening! Like full on thunder and lightening and torrential downpours. We run through the rain to dinner most every day. I love it(: But also, I realized I never got an umbrella. It's okay, my comp shares with me if I want to stay dry, but most of the time I just love running through the rain. 

I love it here! Being a missionary is the best calling in the world. Thanks for all your love! 

Love,

Hermana Aubriana Wolferts
They have these "safe places" for earthquakes. I was so confused at first because some of them are all cracked and wavy. I was like "there's no way these are the safest places to be." but it's just because they are away from buildings.
 The Southeast Mexico City Mission on the map.

 Me and Hermana Garner. She's amazing and we've become great friends (:
Me and my companion, Hermana Jones with the Mexico City Temple Visitor Center Sisters!

Week 2: Seeing the City

Oh my goodness! This week was AMAZING! 

So much happens each week, it's hard to organize my thoughts. Also, my p-day was changed from Tuesday to Thursday this week so there's even more to try to fit into an email.

My p-day was switched because today we went to get our visa stuff finished. The traffic in Mexico City is absolutely insane, so the bus ride took a while. This city is honestly the strangest, most amazing, intense place in the world. Downtown is really nice and SO beautiful. Our bus driver took us by some of the famous monuments! But even just a few blocks away you see people living in really harsh conditions. I'm in love with Mexico city, though. There is so much culture and LIFE here. The CCM really is so different from the city, it was so strange to drive just outside the walls and go "this is where we are?"

Going to the city was a huge reality check. For one, I realized what Mexico City is really like. And secondly, I realized that I know VERY LITTLE Spanish. On Tuesday something magical seemed to happen. It was like the language clicked. I could form sentences and get through a lesson without needing to script most of it and I was just feeling amazing. That was really refreshing because the couple days before that I was starting to get a little discouraged. However, stepping out into the real city was really eye-opening. I usually feel like I can understand essentially everything that people say at the CCM, but out there, the people talk so fast and they use words that my teachers haven't used and wow was I humbled. Long story short, I have a long way to go until I am fluent. But still, the gift of tongues is real and I really have learned more spanish in these past 2 weeks than all of High School.

Part of the reason I've learned so much Spanish is because we speak Spanish all the time. We're friends with some native speakers and we used to practice with, but they all left on Monday. Some of them speak pretty good English, but some of them don't. It really is amazing to see that friendship can transcend that language barrier. And it has also been amazing to see that the gospel is a world-wide thing. I knew that before, but I didn't understand it. Moreover, many latins are converts and it is so cool to see the blessings of missionary work. This church is true. 

We also speak spanish pretty much all the time that we are in class. We have a spiritual lesson every day for like half an hour or an hour that is in English, but the rest of the time we try to speak spanish. It can be really frustrating, but when you have to speak spanish you find ways to say what you want to say and you become way more comfortable with the language. Our teacher, Hermano O., gives us marks on the board every time we speak English. We are supposed to do wall sits for every mark we have, but the whole thing got sort of out hand and one of our other teachers, Hermana V., ended up erasing the whole mark thing.

We have 3  teachers total. Hermano O., Hermana V., and our newest teacher, Hermano P. Hermano P. was our investigator, Carlos! Tricky, tricky. I had heard rumors, so I was sorta expecting it, but it was still so weird to have him walk into class the first day wearing a suit. Hermano P. is a great teacher. I learn so much about the language and how to be a good missionary from him. Really all my teachers are amazing. I'm so blessed! 

One super random thing: There are SO many birds here. Just like hundreds. Probably mostly at the CCM because it's so nice and lush compared to the rest of the city. The other day there was a bird flying in our classroom that we couldn't get to leave. It was super funny. We were worried it was going to run into the window and die like the other bird. 

There are also a lot of mosquitos here. My comp is super funny and likes to try to catch them. She's actually really good at it. I said this last week, but I have a great district and a great companion. I hardly know these people, and yet we are all best friends! 

One funny story: We do these activities to practice teaching certain things in spanish where we watch an "Im a mormon" video and then pretend that we are teaching that person the gospel. We pair up with someone in our district and one person acts like the investigator (pretending to be the person in the im a mormon video) and the other person pretends to be the missionary. During this practice, I was acting like Ingred, a 28 year old woman from guatemala who had her legs amputated when she was younger. Elder M. was acting as the missionary teaching me. This day we were teaching someone how to pray. He went through all the steps of addressing Heavenly Father and saying your feelings and what you are grateful for and then closing in the name of Jesus Christ but then invited me to kneel and pray with him, I just looked at him funny because I was playing someone who didn't have legs. It was pretty funny.

We also find ourselves making really dumb missionary jokes. Like yesterday I told an Elder who only got bread for dinner "man cannot live on bread alone." The mission makes your sense of humor really strange. My district wrote a rap about missionary work. Maybe Ill send it next week (:

We work hard here and learn a ton and I love it! I love being a missionary, and putting on my tag every day is my favorite thing. 

Love you all,

Hermana Wolferts







Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 1: Hola from the CCM!

                               June 16, 2015



Hi! First of all, I love you all.

Second, these keyboards are strange. So excuse any and all mistakes.

I LOVE IT HERE. It's the best. Everyone kept saying things like "if you can just make it until Sunday youll be okay" and other similar things my first few days, but I really didn't have a hard time! I dont know if it is something about being set apart to be a missionary, but I haven't been home sick or missed my phone or even music. It's been really amazing. And it really is not torture to be at the MTC like a lot of people say. I mean, they let us watch "Meet the Mormons" on Sunday. We are so spoiled. And our houses are so much nicer than I expected. Our bathrooms have granite countertops and a luxurious shower, for heavens sake. I really feel so blessed to be here.

The plane ride here was great! I pulled it together a bit after saying goodbye to you guys and was able to make a lot of friends (: There were like 30 missionaries on our plane!! Crazy. It was the coolest thing. Flying into Mexico City was the MOST AMAZING sight. There are houses EVERYWHERE. This place is SO huge! I am so excited to teach these people! I sat next to another missionary who is headed to Arcadia speaking Spanish. She was super nice and it was fun to get to talk and be excited together! 

Driving through the city was INSANE. The people here drive so CRAZY! Just totally loco. And we saw several people just stop their car in the middle of the street and have someone get out of the car and then dash across 3 lanes of traffic narrowly escaping death. Everything is so colorful here! It's so fun to see. The CCM (MTC in Spanish, we never call it the MTC, only the CCM) is so beautiful and peaceful in such a crazy city! But we laugh because they keep assuring us that "as long as we are in these walls we are safe" but we are staying in Mexico City sooo... We hear these loud bangs that sound like gun shots a lot, but one of the teachers told us that they are fireworks from the Catholic church. Something funny happened the other day. We were talking about how they keep telling us how dangerous Mexico City is when you aren't at the CCM (don't worry, it's not that bad, they just dont want elders to get any ideas and try to leave, I think) and we were saying that we hope we don't die and then this bird just flew into a window and died right in front of us! So sad, and so Ironic. Elder M, our district leader, called it an omen. Haha. 

My companion is AWESOME. Her name is Hermana Jones and she is from Twin Falls Idaho. She is super hardworking which is great!! And we get along so well. We find so many opportunities to laugh throughout the day, which prevents all the studying and everything we do from feeling monotonous. And my district is amazing! Jake Van Leeuwen's cousin is our district leader! I was happy that he was in my district. His comp is Elder C. and he is super nice! Hes from Utah, like me. Then the last comp is two Hermanas, Hermana G. and Hermana C. Both amazing people as well! We are all going to the Mexico City Southeast mission which is SUCH a blessing because I would have a really hard time saying goodbye to them! Im happy that I will get to work with them my entire mission. 

We work a lot! The days here feel really long because we do so much. But this is not a bad thing! I'm so glad the days feel long because it allows us to get a lot done.

It has been so surprising to me how quickly you get thrown into everything! I have already taught THREE LESSONS to an investigator IN SPANISH. And they are all like 25 minutes long. Obviously, the Spanish is very broken and there are many errors and we can't always express what we want to, but it is amazing how fast you improve and how REAL the gift of tongues is. I can pray in Spanish and bear my testimony, which is so cool! Also, we have to prepare talks every week (in Spanish). We dont know who is going to speak in Sacrament until just before. And I don't mean just before the meeting, I mean just before you get up to speak. Like the person conducting gets up and says "next we will hear from..." and you head on up there and speak. So you have to be prepared! I wasn't selected last Sunday, but Hermana C. from my district was. There are only about 20 people in our branch and several speak each week, so Im sure we will all be selected a few times.

Even though I said that the days feel long here, there is never enough time! Its difficult to plan a lesson to teach to your investigator nearly every day, write a talk, study the language, do some personal study, and go to classes! You really have to have the spirit with you to help you out because we have never gone into a lesson feeling like we are totally prepared but somehow Heavenly Father helps you out. Our investigator, Carlos, even told me that my Spanish was good. By good I think he means that it had improved, not that it was actually good, but even still I know that that was NOT me. Heavenly Father helps us so much. We just have to recognize it.

One thing I've really learned is that missionaries are not perfect. Some people don't want to study (really though, I'm always hoping for more study time, so I don't know why) and some people are disobedient. My comp and I even accidentally slept in one day because our clock was set to Utah/idaho time (you better believe we were on our knees praying for forgiveness like the second coming was happening that day). But I've also seen that the Lord helps those who try their best to live the mission rules. It's remarkable what happens when you do what you should. The same thing applies when you're home. If you want help, keep the commandments. 

The food at the MTC is good! I think that they switch off between American and Mexican food. One day American, one day Mexican, to keep everyone happy. The native speakers are so great! A lot of them know English, and so they help us a lot with our Spanish. And they are so friendly and patient. Our teachers are great too! Both of them are from Mexico. It's really such a blessing to have Native teachers, especially when working on our accents. Its kinda like a game of telephone, if you hear it from the source you are going to be much better off than the distorted version of the original sentence that gets passed on after a while. Learning from people who have perfect accents helps us a lot. Also the weather here is perfect! I am so happy to get to stay here. 

Finally, happy birthday Sara! I thought about you all day (: I love you so much!!! Your mermaid tail sound so cool, send me a pic!

I love you! 

Hermana Wolferts

Sunday, June 7, 2015

3 Days

On January 22, 2015, my LDS mission call arrived.

But my dad was out of town.

So I waited a whole extra day to open it. Those 24 hours were probably the longest of my life. 

I hardly slept.

hardly ate. 

I was SO nervous. 

If we're being real, the only reason I didn't open it the second it came was because I had my call sent to my home address, rather than my apartment at school. That was a good call, since I really did want my family and friends with me when I learned where I would live and serve for 18 months.

The next day I drove home to open my call amongst family and friends. I was shaking the whole ride home. It's a miracle I didn't crash.

Blessing for choosing to serve a mission, maybe?

Anyway, the moment I held my call in my hands I felt so much peace. I had been a little concerned about whether or not I would be sent to the place; the place where Heavenly Father needed me. When I held my call, however, all those fears and doubts disappeared.

It's been nearly five months since that WONDERFUL day, and I now have less than 3 days until I leave on my mission. 

I can't wait to serve the people of the MEXICO, MEXICO CITY SOUTHEAST MISSION!

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